Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to

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Welcome to CatMinders

Thursday, 29 November 2007

10am this morning ...

The arrival of the stuff from storage and the transformation of the room that was formerly D' s office ....Click on the picture for the full impact ( or not if you cant bear it ) .

But , upstairs there is now a fully functioning water bed as the waterbedman arrived on cue and pumped it full of water . Swings and roundabouts , and I'm sure there will be some other goodies amongst this lot . Some rather fine cutlery is already noted .....

If I dont re appear here , I'm in that bed !

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Migraine all day , now no pain thanks to Immigran .
Our bed is now dismantled and re erected in Nats room thanks to D . The floor space under it has been semi cleaned and cleared , and N s mattress on our floor for us to camp out on pending the arrival of the water bed tomorrow .
N still got bug but bravely went to school this afternoon though still not well .

And everything is arriving tomorrow .... whilst the removal men are here I am at the dentist having half a tooth stuck back on .
Wish me luck .
More to the point wish D luck . He hates mess and disarray . I'm more used to it never having really known how to avoid or sort it until he moved in .

Monday, 26 November 2007

Blogging as displacement activity , and Migraine Management

I should be clearing out from under my bed but I really am not in the mood . I had a lovely weekend doing all the sorting and clearing and tidying , or rather I was on the fringes whilst D did it , and making the winter salad and walking the dog excessively , and going to town and blah blah , but I really felt it this morning ... felt like I hadn't had enough weekend and now back to work .
So Im having a rest now and refusing to clear under that bed . Tomorrow will do .

First thing this morning was an emergency appointment at the neurology dept . Not so much an emergency but more of an organised in a rush business .
I waited an hour , reading a migraine magazine and wondering would I want an injection into the head which blocks something , if I was offered . I think not , really , though suppose things are almost bad enough that I'd do anything . then read an article about getting fat hormonally or some such , which said just what Laura did earlier this week , that excercise is the solution . I should be ok then what with all that running about after a fit greyhound .

Then I was seen by the best neurologist Ive seen so far in my neurology career. ... he asked me things and told me things about how it is when I have a migraine that only someone who lives with them would know . Sure enough , he talked about his own experiences and wrote a big list of management strategies for me to take away ,, both acite and preventive strategies , including some new drugs which I will need to get on prescrition , and some stuff available at the supermarket . He also suggested I give the anti epilepsy drugs another whirl despite my beliefs that thats how I ended up ill with chest problems last Winter and this Spring . maybe at a lower dose this time . If I get ill again I can always stop and there are then some new ones I can try .
He also suggested a new Triptan which is in the form of a wafer which dissolves on the side of the mouth unlike my sumatriptan tablets which are wasted if one is already into the puking stage .
So I was there for ages and it all felt worth it . last time I felt I was simply upbraded for over use of triptans ( causing rebound headaches ) but when you are at your wits end with pain its almost impossible just to suffer in silence and ignore your medication thinking well I cant take anything today Ive had three already this month ....Which he of course understood hence the alternate strategies which mean the triptans are the final step on the road rather than the first thing to reach for which Ive been taught by previous doctors ( oh that's unless youve already had your quota ) .
And as a result I feel quite optimistic again , as I usually do when something new is suggested . Each new idea brings the promise of a life with less pain and more normality .
I will get there in the end .

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Nat and Emily's cake

Nat and Emily's cake in front of the new storage jars we bought yesterday , to conceal biscuits , crackers and the like from a marauding greyhound .
Yesterday whilst we were out buying them , and some dog walking boots for D , she helped herself to a packet of Special K ( without red berries ) . Its not clear whether she had eaten any , or done more than stuck her snout into the packet , as she seems to colllect food items and line them up near her chair / bed " just in case " starvation sets in later perhaps . Though in the case of the sixteen flapjacks snaffled earlier in the week , they had moved up a notch from the Standby slot and were Gone by the time we were back . Only a plastic tub remained . But she looks so sweet and remorseful when you catch her out hat its impossible to be anything but amused ( and blame yourself for leaving goodies within reach ) . We just didnt realise quite how long her reach was ......and bingo , a packet of Golden Linseeds is added to the mix .

Winter Salad Kitchen

Just to make a change from clutter clearing ( there 's still under the king sized bed to do , as the water bed has no space under it for storage . I couldnt quite bring myself to bend down and look under the bed though today . I know the scene under there is going to be characterised by dust , fluff , assorted cat debris and old suitcases full of forgotten sundries. So I decided to get into the kitchen instead ) D picked all gthe green tomatoes , I went to town in search of storage jars , and he bought all the other ingredients ( apart from the green tomatoes that is ) to make Winter Salad . I've never made this before so had to ring my mother for her recipe to be e mailed , with various bits of advice to go alongside . The picture denotes about a third of the quantity that resulted and we still have about the same amount of tomatoes all over again .
Then , whilst we were winter salading and D was cooking the Sunday Dinner Nat went to Emily's and they made three chocolate cakes , complete with eight eggs .
One of these is pictured somewhere too .

the chest of drawers is perfectly tidy inside each individual drawer ( thanks to D and his organisational skills . I take everything out of each drawer , stare at it a bit , then put it back hurriedly so its as well Im not in charge . ) Soon the room too will be clear . No more piles of stuff on top ( now all gone , it was piled high ) , piles of spare chairs to the side , books in a stack and waiting to be moved on , picnic baskets to the fore . By next weekend maybe ? But hang on all the extra stuff hasnt arrived yet ???
This is the house only half full .

Order restored ....the cats are back

Jessie at least back at the helm
, last night's clearing of the chest of drawers was too much for her , and later , as we surveyed the scene after we were done , and every
drawer was back in place , she couldnt resist climbing back up to the desk where pre Alice she and Kitty fought over the best position at the desk .
Later , despite Alice sharing the sofa with D and me , Pearl came in and settled for the first time on Jess ( teenager not cat this time ) as the most comfortable person to share a chair with .....
Nice to have some of the cats downstairs with us again though .....

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Preparing for the New Arrival

Last weekend was the clearing of the clutter from N s room . Monday night clearing from under the eaves in the attic . Friday am ( yesterday ) clearing the junk from the shed , including the placing of a ton-weight kiln and a gas heater in the back lane to find them gone within minutes . A useful disposal system that , saved a trip to the dump or a call to the council .
And , finally ( or not quite finally ) the clearing out and weeding of the coats in the downstairs hall cupboard . Another bag for the greyhounds charity shop and we each now have a peg with two or three coats on . Eminently sensible . Previously opening the cupboard was a heavily stressful experience , attempting both to unhook a coat , pull it through the darkness past sixteen wool scarves , five denim jackets and a hat ,whilst at the same time keep Alice from helping herself from the little bag of Gravy Bones situated on the floor . She would snaffle a few , dump them on the sofa and work her way through them as you finsished the coat retrieval process.
This morning was a dream , door opened easily , cast an eye in , select the right coat suited to the grey skies and freezing temperatures rather than just the only one that would come out , unhook it in one single handed movement , close the door and apply said coat . Alice didnt even try to grab a treat , seeing that everything round here is changing . Result !

What's it all in aid of though , you may wonder. I myself wonder why we don't do this clutter clearing more than once in a blue moon . Its a task , there s no doubt , but how much time does it really take once you stop procrastinating and dig out a pile of heavy duty bags . The charity shops win , storage space increases ten fold and you feel somehow Light and Airy as you waft through the house .

Its in aid of the fact that having paid to have stuff ( and a lot of it ) in storage for over a year , we have now faced the fact that unless we take deciseive action this Stuff would still be in storage at the time of our demise sometime when . Seemed to make sense to shift a few things round . Most of the stuff ( which originally lived in D s cottage ) is long since forgotten , though I have a distinct memory of the gigantic water bed , which is my incentive to put pressure on to take action , and now the cold weather is upon us he can recall a warm padded coat . We also recall a washing machine , a large sofa and a million bits and pieces of this and that .....
So there you have it !
All will be revealed when the van rolls up on Thursday at nine thirty . A man is booked to fix up the bed , a complicated process involving hot water and pumps .
Oh but before that we have to dismantle the king sixed wrought iron framed bed from our room and transfer it to N s room , having first dismantled her bed and stored it somewhere ( eek ) . On Wednesday night . Foreseen hitch , where will we sleep on Wed night ? A mattress somewhere perhaps ? On a sofa with Alice ? Who knows .

I'm also amusing myself with thoughts of how much the cats are going to adore the permanent warmth of the water bed , and how much they may resent the way it rises and falls like a lake when a new body climbs aboard .

Watch this space .....

Friday, 23 November 2007

First snow

First snow spotted at 3 am this morning , lying onthe ground and on the cars , although all gone by the time I let Alice out the back at 5am there was the odd drift of slush on the cat windscreens .

As we left the park at 8 m I thought I felt a flake of snow . By the time we were back home , almost as we closed the front door and D dried Alice's paws off and removed her coat ( first time of wearing it in earnest today rather than as a try out previously ) the snow was falling for real ....

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Happy Birthday Bett

Its Bett s birthday today . 71 and counting , she said when we met her coming round to say thanks for the little present I pushed through her door at seven forty as I took Alice out ( we ordered some greetings card made out of a photo of her beloved cat William ( he 's a Birman too, and Pearl 's third son so he's quite dear to our hearts too ) .

Bett is a truly amazing person . She has lived on the same road as us for several years and nursed her husband Les at home until he died the winter before last .

Bett is a great gardener and " does " many of the gardens round here , including a long stretch of the council owned grass in front of all of our properties . In Summer she is out from early morning till the light is done , and as she gardens she makes everything look easy . Despite her years she manages always to make living look like a joy , always a smile and a word for all passers by . She rarely gardens alone , either . Before her four grandchildren were in school she childminded all four of them on a regular basis , so she would do her planting , watering and tending with her little girls in tow. Now that she looks after the girls pre and after school only , she usually has a dog or two with her . Bett is a true animal lover and would rather her neighbours' dogs were out with her , under her watchful eye , than alone indoors . She has already taken Alice to the park for us one day when D wasn't at home all day . Often one of her cats will sit on the wall watching her progress and looking disgruntled as the dogs race around having fun . Bett doesn't just garden , she muti tasks out there , throwing balls for the dogs as she goes .

Before we had the Birmans we had two elderly cats , both of whom as their days drew in chose to move in with Bett and no amount of persuasion would bring them home . We joked that with Bett feeding three times a day and being " always there " it was no wonder they left us , although both of them spent a final night with us , saying goodbye before they died .
Being "always there" is the thing I connect with Bett . When my ex left , completely unexpectedly and left N and I shell shocked and traumatised , she was always there , and seeing her out in the gardens , bent over the earth , she would give me the strength to go on .
Happy Birthday Bett .

Migraine Days ( again )

All I can say is , I am so glad I stopped working five days a week . I had a migraine starting yesterday and its not responding to naything at the minute . Makes me wonder if I also have some virus as usually the sumatriptan will knock it our for a while ( which it did yesterday , long enough for me to finish a report in the afternoon ) but overnight nothing has worked .
Alice has had her half hour in the park , so Im back to bed for a couple of hours to see of sleep will help . This is a wierd life sometimes , but hopefully it will go by tomorrow ?

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

I get up at three am to let Alice out . Despite the rain , she agrees to going out in the yard and now gets the message that if she puddles out there she gets a gravy bone . So I am not out there too long though I have to put on the Uggs and a coat and accompany her ( she s still scared of the dark ) .
So , I'm back in bed by three fifteen , and reading Instances of the Number Three ( Salley Vickers ) till three forty five and finally squeeze down amongst the three attendant cats ( Kitty being with N ) and sleep , only to dream I am inspecting my lower right leg and on the inner calf note that I am growing a nipple . I wonder how I will get my socks over it , and how it will rub along with my new ( dog walking )boots.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Memories ...

Clearing out clutter brings back all sorts of memories and having weeded loads of toys , games and clothes , I was standing in the kitchen preparing ahead for tomorrow's after work dinner ( cheese crust vegetable pie ) and as I mixed the pastry I caught sight of the pictures which have been exhibited on the kitchen wall since N was , what , three , four by the looks of them . I think the drawing on the left ( of Moi ) was done for Mothers Day in recpetion class an dthe two on the right are perhaps vintage 98 or 99? Who knows . But the one on the left has been systematically eroded , as you will note , by Kitty and Pearl who like to stand on their back legs from a position on the kitchen bench and rip pieces off it and chew them . I think its all about " why are our works not on display ?" or some such .
Having noticed that an even greater piece of my left face was missing than I had known , I thought a photograph for the blog would preserve these masterpeices for posterity . And , after all , N s cousin Oliver --: Oliver Jeffers :-- is a well known ( I think, certainly gifted anyway and his books are all on the front desk in Borders ) children s artist so maybe one day N too will be gifted and her early works coveted .
I will always love them anyway and Im sure they will stay up there on the kitchen till they are in shreds . But its nice to have them on record in the ether too .

Clutter Clearing ...

Today we are emptying N s room as part of a Grand Plan which involves moving a pile of things here from storage .
Kitty .... " This is the most fun I've had in weeks . Ever since that Giant Stick Insect moved in and Took Over . ( Click on the second picture for a closer look at her expression , if cat expressions mean anything to you ! )
Well , better get on . Its mid day and about a quarter done ...

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Alice doing what she does best .... squished up into the chair where she doesnt really fit ...

afternoon walk

Took Alice to the beach at Cambois up the coast this afternoon , also in celebration of finding the perfect walking dog boots , plus a pair of great ankle boots not for dog purposes . Daniel footwear at Royal Quays came up trumps after I had searched Newcastle and various riding establishments over the last few days . And after making my selection I then discovered that the dog boots were reduced from £75 to £30 odd and the posh ones reduced to £27 despite being marked at £55 , so I didn't do too badly .
I may have to photograph them later .


Sparling antidote to the week that was .... an article about mens underpants in the Times this morning ......not to be missed .Bargainhunter - Times Online

Friday, 16 November 2007

Strange Days

Strange Days , these last ones . The day job was dominated by an air of expectation on Wednesday morning . I had convinced myself that A would survive as she had kept going through two nights of surgery . I was unable to grasp that someone of her age , with two children , could not survive .

But on Wednesday morning we got a message through that she died the previous night .
It was like that moment in the middle of Winter when the snow starts falling outside and everyone looks out and there is a hushed silence , a sense of awful wonder and amazement that this has happened . We all know snow , we see it , we either love it or hate it but each time its there , its new and we all look at it with a fascination . And it brings an odd , eerie silence with it .

That's how it was .
Only there is nothing wonderful about death .

We spoke to each other , we decided things that needed to be done , but it was all new . Every one of us there has been bereaved , we all know this place , where it takes us , yet each new journey into loss is different .

Then , the news that one of our other colleagues who has had a chest infection for three weeks and has been home , has been diagnosed as possibly having TB .

At four fifteen I left the office , before time but with a pile of work to do at the weekend .
This was the first day both D and I had been out together and Nat was going in to walk the dog herself after school .

As I drove my phone rang , N on the phone in tears saying the dog was attacking her and she was frightened . I asked what she meant and she said the dog was over excited , would not calm down and was growling and scaring her . I was very close to home so told her to get out of the house straight away , pick up her mobile and her keys and go out into the front away from the dog and I would be home in two minutes .
I was stopped at every red light , rang her while at one and she said she was sitting in the porch .
And when I got there , there she was , looking small and lost , and near her , a spider . N is not a fan of spiders . But I guess the spider was less of a threat than a marauding dog .

I listened whilst she told me what had happened . Alice had been out with her for a walk then on their return she had got very bouncy , jumping from sofa to chair and when N told her to calm down she started pushing N around , paws up on her arms and coming at her from behind . She had growled and frightened her beyond belief , so much so that she couldnt move .
We agreed that Alice is a pack animal and was probably trying to work out her place in the pecking order and that she thought she might come higher up than N .
That it was important she saw that she had made a mistake and that N was boss over her . N agreed that she wanted to go in , so we approached her and I encouraged N to do what I had seen dog trainers ( and our neighbour Sam do with her dog recently ) , make her lie flat down and realise we were boss . We told her in no uncertain terms that we were in charge and she would not behave like this . N was great , very brave after she had been scared and we talked about whether we could keep Alice , though I was clear that I thought we could manage this and N was clear that she loves Alice and if she had known what to do she would have been ok .

Alice responded well , was affectionate to N again , calm and silly . Its hard to imagine that she had been so over bearing but on a couple of occasions she has been like this with me and has responded immediately when Ive spoken to her and told her to calm down .
I rang our neighbour who had agreed to walk her at lunch time and she had had no problems at all . Alice had been calm and friendly with her . I guess ed my theory about the pecking order was probably right and my sister has often talked about how their dog regards her partner Peter as Top Banana , with the boys in the family coming next , then Laura at the bottom of the pile .
Ive seen this in action myself as Grommet( who is a terrier) has a party trick. If you leave a ten
pound note sticking out of your pocket Grommet will slide it out and trot over to Peter and quietly present him with the booty . If Peter isn't present it goes to George , then Harvey comes next . Laura rarely gets a look in , even though she both walks and feeds him .

Since then peace is restored on the home front .
Alice s future is safe with us . She has worked out our routines mostly and the puddles have stopped ( three in total in fifteen days is probably not bad ). She has made an effort to ingratiate herself with N ( going up to her in the kitchen and leaning up against her , staring at her and generally being a loving dog again ) .

As for things elsewhere , they cant be other than dire .

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A colleague at the day job has been missing for a couple of days . He works on another site so I dont know him that well . I heard yesterday that his partner went into hospital for a routine operation ( very minor as far as I can make out , the sort where I imagine she would have been thinking shall I even bother to have this done ? Oh well I ll be fine by Christmas if I get it done now ) , had the op , got an infection and is now in intensive care , organs failing , he has been told she may not survive .
She s in her mid forties I would guess , two children , dont know if she got a hospital type infection or it was something else . I've met her several times as she works in the same business . No words really .

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

On a mission

Im now on a mission for find the perfect dog walking shoes or ( preferably boots ) . Having walked for years on boots with a heel I now find it very counterproductive to walk any distance on flat shoes . Trainers are no good at all and recently after just twenty minutes on the gym treadmill ( the before Alice experience ) I had aching calves and wa s out of action except at a hobble, for a couplf of days .
Having experimented with some cheap flat sheepskin boots ( too flat , no support , too hopeless for words ) , Ive been wearing my Office ankle boots in black suede Office Shoes - Ankle Boots for her - Office (W) - JADA PIXIE BOOT GREY MICROFIand with silver buckles which both look good and feel great , purchased on recent trip to Edinburgh and desinged to get me through a day of teenage shopping and sightseeing ( more of the former than the latter , a challenge for the footsore ) . But theyre not much good on the beaches and in the mud and will be hopeless once we get real rain or real snow come to that .
Laura , sister with a shoe fetish rivalled only by that of Nathalia , has been texting with suggestions eg Clarks , M and S Footglove . I know it makes sense but I want to curl my lip in dismay .
But now shes talking .
Paddock Boots .
I had never heard of these delicious creatures , but they are waterproof , have a small heal and , oh joy oh bliss , are fabulously expensive and thus much more impossible and therefore covetable .

I'm on a mission .
Watch this space .

Monday, 12 November 2007

Has she gone yet ?

Pearl checking through the stair rails .. have you lot got rid of that dog yet ? Is it safe for me to come down ?

This afternoon the three Birmans storm D s room and his desk , all three competing for space in a " B.....r the Dog ! " attitude .

Meanwhile Alice gets naughtier , piling shoes and slippers onto her bed , opening up the brabantia bin overnight ( I heard it wheeze slowly open in my sleep but was too whacked to come down to investigate ) and puddling on the floor despite a last walk (as always) near to midnight .
But doesn't she ( still ) look angelic ?

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Freddie Wills

I started writing this blog back in spring of this year when I was ill and off work and almost unable to get out of bed with all my chest problems . I was there for what seemed like weeks and had no idea how it was all going to turn out . ( Transpired I was probably reacting to Topimirate , an epilepsy drug I was taking , and the coughing I did resulted in me having broken 4 ribs hence the extreme pain in my chest , difficulty ,moving comfortably etc ) .

I read a letter in The Times from Tim Wills about blogging and the fact that he was blogging about his baby son Fred who was in hospital in Bristol with leukaemia . Like many others I logged onto the blog and was hooked . In fact reading Tim s daily life gave mine a focus and I was even brave enough to leave a comment at one stage , and delighted to receive an e mail back from Tim .

Tim was basically telling Fred's story until ( and a little beyond) May , including telling us all the heartbreaking news that Fred wasn't going to get better . Like many others I followed the blog until Tim stopped writing and it was this which inspired me to write my own blog .

Today Ive heard the news that Tim is abseiling in Dec to raise money for Clic Sargent ,and in Fred s memory , the organisation that offered Tim and Rachel accommodation during the time they were at Bristol hospital and away from their home . Clic Sargent was mentioned often in Tim s blog and coincidentally a good friend of mine Ali has recently started to work for them , working directly with children with cancer .

Justgiving - Tim's fund raising page
I'm including a link to Tim 's fundraising page if anyone wants to make a donation .
I only have to look over the side of a building or say the word abseil to go weak at the knees so Tim has my great admiration , as ever .

early start

An early start today . I was excited about the Stephen Poliakoff drama on bbc 2 last night but the start of a migraine meant I took off to bed at 7 30 hoping some pills would fix me up for 9pm . I did come down and sit propped in front of it for about ten minutes but after realising I was staring at a woman in a posh Poliakoff house with three large dalmatians who was monologuing at me and that I really had no clue what she was on about , I took myself back to bed and blissful sleep .
I hate having migraines but sometimes when youve taken the pills and your bed is warm and full of soft furry cats and you have no real responsibilities and there is someone there who knows how to operate the video recorder ( Ive never learned with our latest model ) , then it can be a delight just to succumb and accept you have to do this as you sink in and the cats start up their purring .

So 4 am I was awake and worried that Alice may need to be out . She is scared of the dark and makes a brief foray into the yard when commanded but she really has no intention of taking a chance and squatting in case a bogeyman jumps out at her . I make tea and collect a wholemeal bran biscuit with lemon curd and start back upstairs to Mr Golightley . Im taking ages to read this , I think Ive worked out who he is now , one of those vooks you have to savour .

Then 6 45 and up again to take Alice to the park . She is out for a run when Holly and Polly two large black creatures intercept her run and she scarpers in terror . Always though she escapes the pursuers ( she has so far out run every dog ) then she comes back to look for us . I guess it helps that upon every return she gets a biscuit .

I do catcalls and wonders , little Amber has returned and is safely inside and has eaten two pouches . Then , back to bed with the papers before another walk to the Priory at twelve .

Alice is much calmer this her second weekend with us .
The cats are still considering their verdict .

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Watching ...

.. the high waves boiling yesterday against the rocks .
Usually this spot is deserted unless its a weekend . There were people jostling for position yesterday to see the waves . I took a video which came out well but for some reason refuses to upload on here . The sound effects are great and it would be good to have a clip recorded for posterity .
Ive been grumpy today . I went down at five am to find a wet patch on the floor . Alice got frightened by a firework late last night on her last foray into the night , and then refused to do anything . We gave up in the end after several walks around the block then trying to get her out into the yard . So result this morning ! No matter , it cleans , though Im worried that if it persists we should really make her sleep in the kitchen where there is a wood floor . But shes not going to like that . And the kitchen wont like it either .
Last night as I gave Nat a lift somewhere she sneaked a large tin of Soya lecithin ( dont ask ) , off the bench , managed to open it and massacre the box , then snuffle up the contents ( a grainy powder ) . I was greeted by a sheepish black dog with a white face , white powder everywhere and the irony was it must have tasted so bad , and she had just eaten a huge quantity of chicken .
She now has a bad dose of the runs .....
My mood is lifting after several walks . Exercise , fresh air , the wonderful warmish air today despite the occasional drizzle ? the fact that Ive got two CatCalls this weekend?
Who knows why .

Friday, 9 November 2007

High Seas

Freak waves and high spring tides causing mayhem on the east coast .
the waves here are so high they obscure the lighthouse itself , usually visible at the end of the pier .
The Spanish battery was crowded this afternoon with spectators .
Alive enjoyed the attention as we took photos .

the sailing club beach

Click to enlarge and right in the background you can see the top of a massive wave .......coming right over the wall .....

She folds up very small ....

Alice all folded up small .....

Thursday, 8 November 2007

During the night this is what I found ....

I came down after going off for an early night , but came back down later as the tv had been left on , and I needed a slice of toast and peanut butter not to mention a cup of lemon and ginger tea .
Look at what I found , fast asleep on the sofa , Alice in the cockroaching position .
Greyhounds are just so amazing .
I had a great day today . Took her out at 8 on the Longsands and she ran some amazingly fast and huge circles on the hard sand near the old outdoor pool . She gets so much attention when she runs as she is just so fast and she runs so hard giving it everything she's got . She s a sight to behold ....
And the faces she pulls , when shes been asked to vacate a chair for human usage , she just manages to look both sheepish and put out all at once , leaving the chair very very slowly and glancing at the competition as she goes . At other times when shes all folded up on the sofa she will look sideways as you pass and her face is just so sweet .
Later I went into town and bought some cheap dog walking boots , a version of the sheepskin style Uggs , a bargain at £15 , and a couple of trendy hats for me and Nat . Over the weekend I shall go on a coat hunt for Alice as she really is starting to feel it and wants to hurry back in as soon as she can on her walks .... she 's not the only one .
CatCalls start again tomorrow , three cats for this weekend in two homes both quite close and one in particular with a delightfully playful cat who likes to chase silver paper balls and enjoys attention .
What will I find tonight when I come down I wonder .....

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Tiny Toby

Toby s vigil .... where is that dog now ?

ooh look a nice white sofa too

Alice discovers there is a white sofa too , with re arrangeable cushions .

perpetuating lettuce

Funniest google search words that brought up on my blog this week ... perpetuating lettuce . Why ?

I can understand the ones that include Birmans , and now Greyhounds , even Makeover 2000 , a very popular one recently .

But lettuce ? perpetuating ? in November ?

I was faintly amused the last time I did such a search on my stats and found a google entry under John Lewis an dlaptops . Amused because my blog entry venting my spleen big style about JL s losing my laptop at the back of a cupboard then offering my twenty quids worth of vouchers as compensation for not having the laptop for three extra weeks when I needed it for business not to mention blogging , came high on the list of John Lewis own entries peddling their wares and ( of course ) boasting about various aspects of their product services depts etc . Ah well . Someone may just be put off buying . Or they may think Silly Old Witch and go ahead anyway . Which is what I would do . At bottom after all I like JL .....

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Cold weather ....

Iceberg Creations - Greyhound Coats and Accessories

Alice is less and less keen to go out as the weather cools ... we must get her a coat .
Ive started looking at the Greyhound Accessories online ..... check out this fleece ......what do you think ?

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Minnie takes to the shelves

Successful visit to Grandma and Grandad ... we were able to let Alice off the lead in their garden and she was so happy , took off like a greyhound would, flying round and round being pursued by their two papillons ( tiny toy dogs in case you dont know ) who was screeching in fury at this intruder who was fleeing round like a mad thing . Hannah and Molly are tiny little things with huge voices and they cant stop themselves barking as loudly as they can when faced with any challenges .
Alice wore herself out in minutes and then flopped in front of the fire ( not before trying to snaffle various food items and delicacies at eye level ) , but the papillons were nowhere near finished and took a few pops at her when her leg strayed too near their favourite toy . I'm pleased to say she turned the other cheek and refused to be drawn . Made me realise just how tiny these cute little dogs are , and how tall is Alice by comparison .
Minnie the cat arched and postured a bit then took herself up to the top of the kitchen cabinets where she made faces for the afternoon , re appearing after tea time when she could tolerate no more and exploded in a flurry of claws and hisses unde rthe dining table . Again Alice just turned away slightly as if minding her manners whilst on a family visit ..... I was so proud of her .

I knew if I persisted...

.. you would relent about me and the sofa .....

Sharing the bed ?

One of the spin offs of Alice dog being downstairs at night is that the cats are all very firmly in our room and mostly on or in the bed , albeit taking turns .

First Toby and Jessie squabling on top of the quilt when I first go to bed , later when D arrives Kitty appears and decides she is suffering Desk Wars Withdrawal Syndrome and needs more Human Contact . Interestingly she chooses me .
I am propped up against three pillows at quite a steep angle and attempting to drink Galaxy Hot Chocolate for some reason ( usually my bedtime drink is lemon and ginger tea , which is certainly less messy) . Kitty approaches slowly but surely and insinuates herself further and further along my person until she is stretched along my top half almost in an upright position herself because of the angle I'm at , and her nose pressed under my chin . Drinking hot chocolate is already tricky wearing my glasses but I need them to read . With a cat like Kitty on board , almost impossible . Kitty , you may recall , is a lardbox on legs , rotund and narky if thwarted . I move with care .

Later , Alice gives a howl and I am not sleeping . Its 2 am so I go down to see if she needs to be out . We are becoming obsessed with whether she has had a poo since her last meal ... exacerbated by the fact that when I came down the morning before there was a chocolate log left for me in D s room , where she hadn't been able to wait . I was relieved it was a solid and not a Mr Whippy ( I am recalling the importance of consistency from my previous dog days , poop scooping is no one's favourite occupation but some days are definitely better than others ) .

She seems fine and I settle her on the bed again , and request that she keep off the sofa ( which I know she ignores once my back is turned and really we aren't that bothered as long as she can be prised off when we want the sofa . )

I return upstairs deciding to read my new book , Mr Golightly's Holiday ( Salley Vickers ), highly recommended . D is asleep but as I turn back the duvet at my side I see that Pearl has crept in and is insisting on a full third of the bed ... I squeeze in between her and D , and whilst Im propped up and reading that works fine , we each have a third of what is a massive bed .

Kitty reappears and not appreciating that Pearl is under the covers , comes back to attach herself to me again and inadvertantly walks on Pearl's head , which appears from under the covers , resulting in Aghast Posturings from Kitty who furrs up like a hedgehog and spits and stares . Pearl stretches more langorously ( spelling ? ) and is now wanting a full half of the bed .
I finally fall asleep squashed tightly up against D ( he's not complaining though ) and with my arm around Pearl .....

Things you see when you have a dog to walk at seven am ...

This was an amazing sight dog walking yesterday at seven . Its a little dark but if you click to enlarge it its still worth a look . The road leads down to the sailing club beach where Alice loves to run .

Toby inspects Alice .....

Our first attempt to catch one of the cats ( Toby ,here ) coming gingerly into the room to have a closer look at the stick insect creature ...

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Bliss.. I think my headache is lifting .
Another thing about Greyhounds , they are very popular out on the street . Took her out first thing again and realised how timid she is when faced with big aggressive looking dogs . there was no one around at seven am to speak off , but in our return she spotted a huge shaggy Alsation heading towards us , held on a lead by a man who realised before I did that Alice was getting scared . It became clear to me when she tried to cross the street and then pressed up tight to my legs . maybe she's been given a hard time by a big dog at some point in her life . Being a Rescue dog means we have to work all these things out . The man guided his dog past and she was fine .
Later in the morning I went with D to the European Farmers market held in the old station near us .... amazing stalls from Europe with huge hanks of sausages right above Alice s nose , all manner of fresh baked cakes and pastries in boxes at eye level , trays and trays of olives and cheeses of all description just where with a bit of a stretch she could grab . It was heaven for her , scary for me as I saw this morning how quick she can be when she wants to nick something ( the cats rejected food ) , she was off along the hall carrying the cats bowl before I had turned around . And everywhere , people wanting to stop and pet her , say hello to us and ask us did we rescue her , aren't greyhounds amazingly rewarding dogs etc etc . I had no idea greyhounds were so popular and evoked such passion and feeling .
We arrive back at the house in time for breakfast and within minutes three of the cats have been into carry out another brief inspection before going back to their vantage points on the landing . Jessie is probably the most curious today , Toby clearly the most alarmist as he tiptoes slowly slowly towards her , stops , looks , stops then silently and slowly reverses back out of the room , hardly appearing to move a muscle as he goes .

The Volterol last night worked well at chasing the migraine . I was awake at two am for a while and came down to lie on the sofa and talk to Alice . No howling though , so that problem seems to have been quickly resolved .
I fall asleep into dreams of wierd stuff.
I am in another country and need to see a doctor after some serious problem , perhaps my heart . A private doctor agrees to see me at her home and whilst she is considering what tests to gve me , another woman appears , a blonde haired woman in her early thirties , with a young child . The woman joins my consultation and I am surprised . The doctor tells me she wants to meet this woman , who I then notice is connected to a feeding tube ( into her tummy ) . I am then told she has had to buy herself a new lung which has been installed . I am led to believe that she has a very limited life span .
We go out into the Doctor's garden and she encourages us to play with some kittens there . I realise one of them is half kitten half rabbit , rabbit's face and tail and cat body . I take a photograph .

I remember how Volterol always gave me bad dreams when I was hospitalised with migraine when I was pregnant . I was in a single room in an old maternity hospital in Newcastle , the Princess Mary ( which closed before I gave birth ) . The room was big and old fashioned by todays standards and had two balconies leading from windows. I was always hot and had the windows open but the voile curtains pulled as the light bothered me . The voile would blow in the breeze and I would wake sweating in the night , convinced there was a presence , possibly a burglar , on the balcony watching me . The nurses told me it was the Volterol causing the bad dreams and not to worry .

The girls have taken Alice out and I hear the pattering of little cat paws , all coming down to check that she is out .....

Friday, 2 November 2007

Today .. and last night ....

Alice is definitely a people person .
We left her downstairs last night .
I think my preference would have been to have relocated her cushion to the bedroom with us but we had decided that the cats need some semblance of privacy and safety until they feel more at home with a large stick insect who smells of dog and lumbers about the place on her stilts of legs .

We settled her on the cushion in the sitting room , with access to all the downstairs rooms , and settled ourselves in bed . Both of us reading somewhat anxiously for a few minutes . I do my usual switch off of my lamp , then watch from under the covers as D continues to "read" as his eyes close and the magazine or book starts to swing in the breeze as his hands lose their grip . He sleeps in the upright position until the book falls at which point he is adept at opening the eyes and glancing round to see if he has been noticed dozing , and immediately continuing with that " me ? asleep ? nah ..... just your imagination " look . So just as he starts to doze , a truly blood curdling howl from downstairs .

I wait . he sits upright , clearly unsure whether he is dead or alive , and I start to giggle . Alice , I say and oh , there she goes again . Surely a wolf , and not Alice .

I go down and she is on the sofa , very pleased to see me and slides onto her cushion " what me , on the sofa ? nah .... "
Back upstairs , this continues until I remember what Wendy her foster mother said about not talking to her but rather banging on the outside of the door which is a Barbara Wodehouse technique apparently .
But in order to do this I have to shut her in the sitting room . By now its 1 am and my head is banging . I take a migraine pill and shut the door on her . Next time she howls , I go down , bang on the door and depart .

I lie in bed waiting for the migraine tablet to take effect . The fireballs in my head start to turn to ice .( The side effects of the Triptans , feels like ice coursing through the veins .) All will be well . Soon the pain will be gone and sleep will come . I pick up my book , one of the most depressing Anita Brookner's I have ever read . And yet I always read them all . But they are truly bleak .....)

I hear scrabbling and scratching and my mind turns to what Alice might be doing ..... another high pitched howl and now a single , but loud bark .

I wonder what Seamus and Claire next door will make of all this . Not much possibly , although they were very good when Pearl ran into their house and chased Ivan , their cat . And ate Ivan's dinner .

I go down .
Open the door .
Scene of devestation . Alice , this is not ok , I say sternly . She looks hurt .

Devestation is not so bad , mainly a snow storm of tissues . She has also torn up two hat boxes used to store " things " ie junk which we dont need but somehow are unable to throw away . . so the junk is scattered to the four corners .
I'm decided . I won't lock her in again . The cats hate that too and always pull up the carpet if we accidentally shut them in anywhere .

Alice slides onto the sofa and when I ask her to return to her cushion ( I'm clearing debris at this point ) she tries again , slips up onto a corner armchair and tucks her feet in tidily . My heart goes out to her . Poor little soul , she needs to be in my bedroom ....
But the cats . ?

I return upstairs , D is half asleep and says , perhaps sensing my weakening , we need to stick to it or the cats have nowhere ....

At the next howl , which wakes me from a deep sleep when I am dreaming I am staring at a row of teapots on a wide pine shelf , he is out of bed like a shot , into his robe and downstairs . I hear a few quiet words and he is back .
Silence .
next thing I know its 6 45 and the alarm is reminding me that I forgot to reset for 6 30 which was when Nat and I planned to take her out .

She is thrilled to see us , dancing and wagging her tail and grinning . Wendy has taught her well though and she doesn't jump up ( we 've been advised to turn our backs on her if she does ) and stands still till we attach her lead . N is in charge and we step out into the mild November air , grateful it isnt frosty yet .....wonderful in fact to see the sun rising near the castle by the sea and N is well pleased with how easy she is to manage . Tomorrow night will be better , as she begins to realise we are still there in the morning . I hope . ( But even if she howls all night she's still wonderful and exactly the dog we dreamed of . )

The cats are mainly staying upstairs . Pearl , being deaf , seems least bothered and has been down once or twice today . Though after a trip to a Cat Call and the pet shop this morning and a foray into Wilkinsons to buy a very cheap single duvet and cover for her to sleep on in the car , my migraine moved past the medications and took hold again so I retired to bed having dosed myself again ( stepping up to the suppositories provided for extreme times )and both Pearl and Toby snuggled in with me . I am out for most of the afternoon .
Kitty is most put out though and spends most of the night and today under the bed , appearing only this afternoon when hunger drives her to the bathroom where supplies are temporarily located .
N is reminding me that I've just been sick , and shouldn't be on the laptop . She's right I know , but the volterol has given me a temporary respite .

One more thing , I received a wonderful letter this morning from Marisa , who has Birmans and from whom we got Pearl .. she has changed jobs and sounds much happier . Lovely to hear from her and lovely to receive a proper letter . Emails are great but nothing beats a letter coming through the door . Ok Nat Im getting off here .....

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The moment we have all been waiting for

Alice arrived this afternoon after Nat was home from school which worked out well . ( the friends came round later after she was all settled in ) . Kitty relinquished the cushion and disappeared upstairs . Pearl , our oldest and bravest Birman has been in to inspect Alice , walking along her full length as if she couldnt quite believe any creature on four legs could be quite that long . Jess has now also been for a peep , but Toby and Kitty are staying behind the baby gate , installed this afternoon at the top of the stairs by D to ensure that the cats have a bolt hole if they wish to keep their distance initially .
D is fretting a little that the cats may starve ( despite all evidence to the contrary , see Kitty's midriff) and has taken them supplies upstairs ( he's kind like that ) .
She is a lovely dog . Settled in very well as predicted , is fast asleep having had a walk with Wendy before she dropped her off then another to the sea with me ( she seemed a bit scared of the dark and pressed up against me whenever we stopped to cross the road) .

Pearl wondering...

..whether strictly speaking we need a Greyhound ....
Pearl this morning , before Alice's arrival .

I love his expression

Another sand sculpture from Cala n Porter .
By the time we left the wind was strong and the sculptures were gone , perhaps all part of the end of season events . Our last day the resort was a ghost town . Fascinating to see how things close and come to an end .....

Sand Sculpture

Amazed to find lots of sand sculptures at the beach on our first day there , some of them rather worn in places but this added to their mystique .

Four jars of olives ...

.. Or was it five ? Either way Ive developed a nice little obsession for green olives whilst away . Its great to be back , sitting here this morning watching the cats acclimatise themselves to our return and Auntie Laura s departure .

Menorca was great , though the weather wasnt . Two previous late October holidays of brilliant sunshine had led me to believe it would always be like that , but no matter . There were two great days when it was bikini weather( I'm not speaking literally here ) and the rest of the time the clouds and lower temperatures meant we could hire a car and see the island and gave me an excuse to buy some warmer clothes in the capital Mahon . Despite having trouble squeezing into my summer stuff , it was all I had with me ... just never occurred to me that it wouldnt be red hot the whole time .

I'm having trouble writing just now ... not sure what I've done apart from travelling and eating a creme caramel ( eggs maybe ) but I've got migraine again so I' d better get off here .reason I . I ll be back later to try again . For the moment , Thursday not being an official work day and only one cat call later in the day , I'm going back to bed for a while to see if I can shift the headache .

Alice ( the Greyhound formerly known as Dog ) , is coming to live with us , this afternoon !

Migraine Days

Migraine Days

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

Flower and Bee on a Sunday

art on a sunday

art on a sunday